Anaspids, Jawless Fish Whose Armor Tell Us Where They Belong – #UREES270 – 2018

Keating and Donoghue, 2016, Histology and affinity of anaspids, and the early evolution of the vertebrate dermal skeleton: Proceedings of the Royal Society B, v. 283: 20152917

What’s it about?

The anaspids were a group of early, jawless fishes with bony armor covering their bodies. The authors discuss the structure of the bony armor and complete analyses to determine where anaspids actually fit into the evolutionary history of vertebrates.

Why does it matter?

Depending on whose paper you read, anaspids may be considered the most primitive of the jawless fishes, or the most advanced leading to the development of jaws, or something in between. The authors show that anaspids are in the category of ‘somewhere in between’ by providing evidence that the bony armor of anaspids only appears primitive, but is not sufficiently advanced to be close to the origins of jawed fishes.

Why did I read this?

This paper was selected as reading for my vertebrate paleontology course for the weekly unit on jawless (agnathan) fishes.

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